Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS, or ‘crups’), previously known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) is a combination of pain and sensory dysfunction, associated with stiffness, swelling, and skin color changes that is way beyond what is expected. It can happen following an injury, even minor ones, or surgery. The affected part may become hypersensitive to touch. Even light tough may be painful. It may or may not be related to direct nerve damage.
Unfortunately, there is no test to confirm the diagnosis. The most important step in the treatment of CRPS is early recognition, early referral, and patient education. Early recognition is the most important as it is key to start treatment before it goes into advanced stages. Obtaining help from different specialists including pain physicians, neurologist, and therapists allow a team approach to effectively deal with the condition. CRPS is poorly understood, so when it comes to the patient who is suffering, it becomes a source of confusion and frustration, which only adds to the complexity of the problem.